While elephant hunting is now authorized in Botswana, American sport hunters may not rush there because their trophies are unlikely to be returned. After the US Fish and Wildlife Service decided to relax the prohibition on elephant trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2017, a debate ensued. Some people argued that since these elephants were being killed illegally, then their trophies should also be banned. Others said that since these animals had been removed from the endangered species list, then they were subject to traditional fair game laws rather than conservation regulations.
In fact, most countries around the world prohibit elephant hunting entirely, except for Botswana, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
An elephant's heart can weigh up to 20 pounds and its brain up to 500 grams. Hunting them provides access to their organs which can be sold on the black market. This money can be used to buy food or equipment for one's own farm or village. No, hunting an elephant is not legal but this activity does provide benefit to certain communities who would otherwise have nothing to eat.
Botswana auctioned off the privilege to shoot elephants for the first time since removing a prohibition last year. The nation boasts around 130,000 elephants, the world's greatest population. On Friday, the government auctioned seven hunting licenses, each of which allowed hunters to kill ten elephants in "restricted hunting regions." The money from the sale is expected to go toward conservation programs.
Hunting elephants is legal in Botswana if you have a license and follow certain rules. There are two types of licenses: private and public. Private licenses are available to BOTSWANIAN citizens and residents (one per person), while public licenses can be issued to non-citizens (up to five per person).
Private hunts must be conducted by licensed hunters using a crossbow or rifle. A driver must be present to help control agitated animals. After shooting, the hunter must report the death of the elephant to authorities within 24 hours. If it has been more than 24 hours and the animal has not been reported, another license will need to be purchased to continue hunting.
Public hunts are open to any citizen with a valid ID card. They can take place over a three-day period during which only 50 elephants may be killed. Additional licenses may be purchased at reduced prices if fewer than 50 elephants are shot.
The majority of legal trophy elephant hunting takes place in southern Africa, in nations like as Namibia and South Africa. Cooney stated that hunting generates revenue for landowners and communities, giving an important incentive for humans to not just tolerate but even preserve potentially threatening species.
In addition, hunting can also be a valuable tool for scientists to learn more about these animals' behaviors and biology. The meat is used by local people as food, while the skin and bones are used for crafts. In fact, according to Cooney, up to 10% of all ivory comes from illegal sources!
Trophy hunting can also provide management tools for land owners. If there are too many elephants on individual farms, hunters can take their trophies which will give farmers an economic incentive to reduce the number of animals on their land.
Last, but not least, some people claim that hunting is necessary to protect wildlife because without it these animals would become extinct. Others say that this practice is outdated and unnecessary since we need conservation efforts more than ever before.
What do you think?